Meet Katie, co-author of the travel blog TwoWanderingSoles.com. Below, Katie shares a few insights into her life as a full-time world traveler.
ZG: What single travel experience has most impacted who you are as a person?
Katie: Studying abroad in Italy was the first time I went overseas, and it opened (literally and figuratively) a whole new world to me. My first long backpacking trip (3 months in South America) was also a defining experience because it showed me that traveling doesn't have to be expensive and short term.
ZG: What single travel experience was the most difficult/challenging for you?
Katie: I think one of the hardest things that I've encountered while traveling isn't in the travel itself, but it is missing out on things at home - births, deaths, weddings, holidays, and nights out with friends or family. Sometimes it's hard missing so many of those big events.
ZG: Which world culture most resonates with you and your lifestyle?
Katie: I am so curious about cultures around the world, and many draw me in. I loved immersing myself in the culture when I lived in South Korea, and I learned a lot about the rich cultures around Southeast Asia. But I think I am especially drawn to the cultures in Latin American countries. I love the closeness with nature and strong family ties.
ZG: What does responsible travel mean to you?
Katie: I am passionate about responsible travel, and have even dedicated my travel blog to "ethical travel on a budget". I've seen so many of the negative effects travelers can have on an environment, a culture, animals and people. I believe that it is 100% possible to travel consciously and on a budget by doing a bit of research. I try to respect the culture of the place I'm visiting, and support companies that are doing the right thing for their communities. Animal tourism is almost always a bad thing, so I usually do extra amounts of research when it comes to interacting with animals. I try to create less waste and remember that I am visiting someone else's home.
ZG: What, if any, travel location do you return to regularly? What draws you back?
Katie: I really haven't returned to many of the places I've visited abroad - not because I don't want to, but because there are so many more places I would like to see. Two countries that I would love to return to soon are Colombia and Ecuador someday. But I think the place that I go back to the most often is northern Minnesota. With 10,000 lakes (including Lake Superior, the biggest in the world!), I love hiking and camping in that area. I go back every chance I'm back in Minnesota.
ZG: What’s one simple travel hack you’ve learned that you are particularly proud to share?
Katie: I don't know if it's a hack per se, but I love traveling with solid shampoo. Lush makes a great, all-natural bar of shampoo that last 3 months, takes up little space, will never leak, and gets through airport security without a problem!
Katie and her husband Ben are not your usual twenty-somethings. Shortly after getting married they quit their comfortable jobs to work and travel their way around the world. Follow their journey on their blog TwoWanderingSoles.com. They’re also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @twowanderingsoles.
It's a big world out there. And it can be tough to navigate. But that shouldn’t be a reason to avoid venturing into the unknown. As seasoned world travelers who have seen both the highs and lows of travel, we’re here to share why choosing to travel may be one of the most important steps you ever take.